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Market Orientation and the Strategic Role of Marketing in Identifying Attractive New Markets

In many cases, the focus is on two groups of customers: the first is consumers and the second is business users. However, such broad-brush approaches neglect the fact that these groups are composed of many different segments, many of which share needs, but equally, many have very different needs.

A positive sign from the SDP Global Summit in Rome last month was the growing recognition that service monetisation efforts need to be more orientated towards enterprise users. Consumer markets are challenging and overrun with free services and offers from OTT vendors. Enterprise customers need more than freemium services.

But what exactly do they need? What kind of differentiation exists in the enterprise? It’s these questions that operators’ marketing teams ought to start addressing. They need to understand how the enterprise market is structured, what industries it serves and how many employees are found in companies in different verticals.

And this is where things get interesting. We’ve spoken frequently on this topic. Whenever we do so, eyebrows are raised, confirming to us that few really understand how the enterprise market is segmented. It’s not all about companies with hundreds of employees. Far from it. Here are some facts:

Business Population Estimates, UK

NB: Source: Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Statistical Release “Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions, 2011”

If the table is too small, here are some highlights:

  • 4.5 million private sector companies in UK (2011)
  • 23.4 million people employed in private sector businesses
  • £3,100 BILLION estimated combined annual turnover
  • 58.8% of private sector workforce is in SMEs
  • 48.8% of turnover comes from SMEs
    • £1,512.80 BILLION

Our presentation was focused on how operators need to better understand key markets and the segments within them. The stark fact is that most people employed in the private sector in the UK work in companies with fewer than 250 employees – in other words, SMEs / SMBs. If an operator is only focused on larger enterprises, then it is neglecting a significant market opportunity. The same is true of most companies. SMEs are staggeringly important.

Marketing teams within operators need to take a long, hard look at this kind of data so that they understand the kinds of companies that represent the majority of the enterprise market and the kinds of activities in which they are engaged. Building a brand is, of course, essential, but the strategic role of marketing in identifying new opportunities in challenging times must not be overlooked.

There are some good examples of how operators have taken steps to address this market. Not enough are doing this, which continues to surprise us, given the apparent fear that has been generated by the OTT threat. Of course that’s an issue and has had a huge impact on operator business models, but we think there are significant opportunities out there and they are not hidden.

They are quite obvious after even only a cursory analysis, but operators need to think about different opportunities, not worrying about competing with the latest free messaging service. We’ve gone through the data many times and the implications are clear. If you would like to know more, please get in touch – or, you can find our presentation on Slideshare for a summary of our thinking and some examples from the field.